I have a letter glued onto plywood and want to remove it. What is the best way?. I haven’t tried anything yet because it is an historical document.

  • What kind of glue was used? Is it standard white glue? Or yellow wood glue? Or something else? Also, what kind of paper is it -- regular printer paper, or old parchment, or something else? May 31, 2019 at 17:03
  • 12
    If it’s a historical document of some value, contact a professional, don’t attempt a hack.
    – Stephie
    May 31, 2019 at 17:03
  • What exactly is your objective? Do you want to get rid of the paper and have a clean wall or do you want to retrieve the letter in the best possible condition? Also: what kind of glue was used? Was the letter written in ink or ball pen or pencil or printed? You need to give us more information.
    – Elmy
    May 31, 2019 at 20:41
  • Or just keep the historic paper with the historic plywood. Take a photo of it for display or printing.
    – Lawrence
    Jun 1, 2019 at 9:31
  • In the absence of further details I’m tempted to agree with Lawrence; I don’t think you’ll be able to effectively remove it without damaging it; leave it as is and duplicate it by high quality scan and print
    – Caius Jard
    Jun 4, 2019 at 3:05

2 Answers 2


If the document is more valuable than the plywood attached to it:

  • cut the plywood using a circular saw
  • have a glass pane cut to the exact size of the plywood-and-document
  • attach a frame to the plywood-and-document-and glass
  • hang it up like a painting

Done! :-)

  • This doesn't address the actual question, which is how to remove the letter from the wood. It could be labeled as a frame challenge, however -- as in "you don't want to do that, because..." as most of the comments point to.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Jun 12, 2019 at 19:14
  • 1
    @ZeissIkon Correct: it's a hack, not a solution... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
    – Fabby
    Jun 12, 2019 at 20:26

The method of removal will depend very strongly on what kind of glue was used -- and it's very likely you don't/can't know that. For genuinely historical paper in similar straits, it's been done to flake the paper off and reassembled the pieces, face down, on a conservation material using a reversible adhesive, then apply a reinforcement on the back using a more permanent adhesive before releasing the now-whole document from the face layer.

This, however, is well beyond the purview of amateurs. If your document has importance, it's better not to do additional damage, than to risk furthe destruction trying to "rescue" or "repair" its condition.

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